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Is CNC Used in Woodworking?

May 9, 2023

Woodworking is an ever-evolving industry where people combine their hobbies, skills, and technology while creating items that change our daily lives. In essence, technology is integral to modern woodworking. At its core, technology applies scientific knowledge to improve our surroundings. Woodworking is an early craft where artisans used wood carving tools to create everyday items, from tables and chairs to homes and transportation. Nowadays, mass production means fewer tradespeople are using the simplified tools once necessary for woodworking.

CNC stands for computer numerical control. CNC is used in woodworking with advanced machinery to create residential and industrial materials to shape our world. It uses computers to instruct machines to measure and cut wood. Regardless of your level of craft in woodworking, this article will pique your interest as you learn more about technology and woodcutting.

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CNC Machinery

Woodworkers use computer numerically controlled machinery to make precise measurements, cuts, and designs. This advanced technology requires intense training and courses since the equipment is expensive for initial purchase, maintenance, and part replacement. Those who have worked with CNC technology know the complexities this advanced machinery can have. Given enough time, crafters can begin seeing the precision and accuracy within their woodworking.

CNC Machinery Benefits

Woodworkers use various tools and machinery to create intricate designs and details; however, they also use multiple types of CNC machinery for minor and larger-scale projects, as you’d see for buildings, art installments, and more. What explicitly makes CNC machinery in woodworking so beneficial?

Project Management:

Like other computer-controlled software (phones, tablets, TVs, vehicles, etc.), woodworking CNC allows users to manage their time and projects more effectively. In any woodcutter’s job, time is of the essence. Not for the sake of rushing–heavens no! Time is imperative for design, production, and deadlines. A well-managed project means a happy woodworker and a happier client.

Waste Management:

If you’re a novice or a skilled woodcutter, wasting materials is not ideal. Not only can it cost you money, but it can also waste your time with multiple trips for materials and other resources. The added frustration with poor waste management is enough to drive any craftsperson a bit crazy. With CNC programming, all cuts are measured and cut with extreme accuracy and precision. Just like a well-managed project, well-managed waste and materials make everyone happier.

Quality and Consistency:

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) software and machinery elevate the artistry standard, offering remarkable quality and consistency benefits. CNC machinery is a game-changer for those engaged in mass production, ensuring each piece is crafted with precision. The technology excels in replicating designs and products flawlessly, minimizing material waste, and maintaining design integrity. Woodworkers can produce finely laser-cut pieces in large volumes with ease.

Consistency also comes in programming. Once the woodworker inputs the design specifications into the computer, the machine reliably tracks and executes the measurements. There’s no risk of deviation from the intended design or losing the client’s preferred specifications. With CNC technology, once the data is programmed, it is preserved for consistent replication, a stark contrast to the variability of traditional wood carving tools.

CNC Machining Techniques

Without stating the obvious, what other services or techniques does CNC machinery provide?

  • Sawing: using a saw blade to cut a narrow slit
  • Drilling: cutting a hole into a workpiece
  • Milling: rotating cutting tool on a stationary workpiece
  • Turning: rotating a workpiece to contact a cutting tool (lathes)
  • Boring: removing material from the interior (interior cavity)
  • Broaching: cutting shallowly to remove material

Each of these techniques is essential to the woodworking and woodcutting industry. However, CNC machinery is used throughout other industries, too. With larger-scale projects, this technology is also held accountable in the medical, aerospace, oil/gas, and marine industries. Though we often think laser cutting is specific to woodworking, it’s also vital to other materials like granite, quartz, copper, aluminum, steel, etc.

CNC and Woodworking

CNC is used in woodworking to create mastery-level pieces in small and large-scale projects and factories. Craftspeople can use various software programs to create beautiful and detailed millwork, casework, cabinetry, textures, inlays, and anything imaginable. The designs are endless and preserved in the computer’s programming, so users can always re-create the design or product. This technology has changed the woodworking industry and continues to do so effectively.

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